An acclaimed French chef who sued Michelin after his restaurant was stripped of its three star rating has now banned the guide's inspectors from his new Paris restaurant.
French chef Marc Veyrat, who oversees La Maison des Bois in Manigod, pursued legal action against the famed restaurant guide, claiming that one of the team’s inspectors mistakenly thought his team had used cheddar in a soufflé, when they had in fact used Beaufort and Reblochon. Now, Veyrat has opened a new restaurant in Paris called La Fontaine Gaillon, and he has made it clear that Michelin's inspectors are not welcome.
Speaking at the opening of the restaurant, he declared "I never want the Michelin [inspectors] in here." He went on to say that he would rather "put stars in the eyes of his diners" than worry about the guide's ratings. At La Fontaine Gaillon, guests can expect to enjoy hi-spec dishes such as scallops perfumed with wild hogweed and served with a purée of dates with a lemongrass emulsion.
The French chef asked for his restaurant to be removed from Michelin's guide
Veyrat's original upset with Michelin, now dubbed 'Cheddargate', began after his restaurant La Maison des Bois was downgraded from a three star restaurant to a two star in the 2019 Michelin guide to France. In July of that year, Veyrat published a letter in French publication Le Point, in which he requested to hand his two Michelin stars back and explained why he disapproves of Michelin’s rating system. The chef spoke of the “profound incompetence” of the inspectors, who he believes “know absolutely nothing about cooking” and “couldn’t cook a decent dish” if they tried. It’s worth noting that Michelin inspectors are not chefs, and that historically, experience as a chef is not a pre-requisite of restaurant criticism.
He also accused Michelin inspectors of not visiting the restaurant multiple times, as they claim to do for all of the restaurants featured in their annual publications. As evidence of his claims, Veyrat points to the guide claiming that the restaurant uses cheddar in one of its soufflés, which Veyrat says is not the case (there is no mention of cheddar cheese in Michelin’s online listing for the restaurant.)
One of the dishes served at La Maison des Bois
Michelin declined Veyrat’s request to be removed from its guide. Speaking in French magazine Le Monde, Michelin’s international director Gwendal Poullennec said: “We are sorry to hear of the pain he is going through, but we will continue to recommend his restaurant.”
Following a court hearing on for 27 November last year, Veyrat lost his case against Michelin. However, he is planning to appeal.
If you love French food as much as you love gossip about French chefs, have a read of our pick of the best French restaurants in London.